Some Virtual Reality Bitmap Art Ideas

You may have read my previous post experincing virtual reality for the first time in terms of an experince beyond simply stereoscopic 3D. I was i spired to create some additional concept art of VR and gaming art or sci-fi in general as a result of this experience.

in my previous post I actually included some art or graphic design I created all on izpad using two apps, Artstudio HD and ProCreate, however here is some additional graphic design I’ve been creating since (keep in mind that I have logos I actually also created I may upload soon before I did this and after the VR post I wrote):9A15BD90-7E3E-4626-B1D3-73885BCD6BE3

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I Created a Basic Infographic About Machine Learning from Scratch

Anyone who is into infographics or visual depictions of data and information, should check out what I created out of basically all of my own assets. I started trying to think of a background layer that is unique in nature and will provide interesting infographic canvas. I also realized an infographic should be in the dimensions of 600×1800 although it doesn’t always have to be.

So what I did was first create this background layer in these dimensions out of a mixture of my own photography I took on an iPad, graphic design I created from scratch, filters to existing assets I had, and general playfulness.

The first images are filtered and changed (by me) images of a face through visual design that I orignally photographed of a statue of sorts here in Warsaw. It is a face thst was siting in water, which I photographed. Below is what I sid with it through filtere wnd grwphic design, thn I i ported it into the infographic.

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Next I decided to use a brick wall and a tower from photographs I also took. The brick wall is an a very important brick and landmark in Warsaw and offers a great background texture to be used for the info text or data of the infographic, or that was my initial intention until I realized how dark and vivid it is.

Then I decided to add a bunch of filters, paint brush strokes and eraser action to top it off. And I ended up with this concept of machine learning. Thus here is the bery basic and simple infographic. I will continue to create infographics and make more elaborate ones in the future — possibly in different dimensions or offering more of my assets or new graphic design designed from scratch.

I actually just started experimenting with different image assets I had and tried to turn something i to this format in terms of pixel dimensions and it was not thoughht out or planned. I only decided to turn it into an AI infographic after I realized the face at the bottom could be used for such a metaphor or signify AI used for different aspects  — from enterprise to consumer machine learning and from manufacturing to IoT devices.

Here was the original idea I started out with and may continue working with as it has almost like a maze-design for where I wanted to input the data and key phrases:

 

And after considering the different options and designs, I’ve decided to keep working on the idea into different forms you can see below:

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As some of you may also recall, I briefly touched upon the history of infographics or one of the founders of the modern concept of an infographic, Fritz Kahl, in my recent interview with a representstive of the mobile game studio Arte, a studio publishing the upcoming Homo Machina game.

Infographics are a huge fad right now and an impressive revenue steam for anyone who can create them from scratch and can do both the visuals and find the right data for them — or either or. This is because many start ups and co panies are leveraging them across websites and social media to showcase their brands and products — as well as differenciste what they offer from competition. I hope to work more on such creative works and be commissioned if anyone is interested on further ideas.

I previously was commissioned finding the data and research for an infographic by an infographic company called Visual.ly. I would not mind working further with this company on either thwt aspect of infographic design and creation or any other of the infographic process. It is a bit difficult however when they do not reply to your e-maila and the previous person you worked under has moved on — even though you were never paid or had a chance to cash in on the initial check for the work that was compelted. Either way, that full infographic is available on my portfolio or can be accessed here (yes it is much more elaborate, but also done with multiple people over a much longer time span):

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How Bitcoin Mining Is Like Going Back to the California Gold Rush

B3A3AB05-7BCA-4410-8E70-D0EE6F273BACYou may be aware of the Bitcoin fad that has been sweeping the digital and worldwide landscape. This current interest has occured as a result of what happened last year during the amazing run the Bitcoin has had with incrdible high oayouts for some who invested early in the cryptocurrency. Ever since people won big and cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, proved to be incredible investments, the topic of Bitcoin mining started to be examined more thoroughtly.

How do Bitcoins come into existence? How are they formed or put into circulation? These are the questions that Bitcoin mining deals with. This is because Bitcoins by themselves are based on computing systems and the Blockhain working across nodes or servers synchroously and without a centralized server or master controllling the Blockchain. This is, in essence, what makes the Bitcoin a free currency — free from restrictions of a centralized bank of government with imposed rules.

I already covered Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies a bit in a previous blog post. I want to reiterate that Bitcoins are limited and mining for them is a huge deal right now. It is a painstaking endeavor, with potentially huge rewards. In fact, it is such a big deal that in Russia, scientists have been caught and apprehended for using government supercomputers for the task.

According to The Independent, several engineers were detained and arrested at a secretive Federal Nuclear Centre that is located in Sarov, western Russia for attempting to use a supercomputer to moin Bitcoins. The supercomouter was available since 2011 and has some pretty incredible capabilities that sure would come in handy in a mining operation.

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“In 2011, the centre launched its new supercomputer with a capacity of 1 petaflop, which can undertake one thousand trillion operations per second,” according to the report. “The computer was not intended to be connected to the internet and when scientists attempted to do so, the centre’s security department were alerted.”

So what did them in and alerted th higher ups of the facility was simply online connectivity. This may seem strange that something that is so ubiquitous in today’s digital and always-connected world, and something Bitcoin mining relies on, would prove to be the thinking minds’ downfall in a top secret research facility. However, the Internet is not something supercomputers from their inception ever relied upon, as they existed for decades before the concept of a Bitcoin came into existence. Thus, it seems in that faculty they were not designed to be connected online — nor now nor ever.

Huge Rewards, High Stakes in Mining

The reward for mining for Bitcoins is that a single Bitcoin mined will mean a single Bitcoin acquired free of charge. With the large purchasing price right now (or really since 2017 when they boomed) of a single Bitcoin being more than $7,000, according to Coindesk, it is no wonder so many people or companies are trying to mine a coin.B26C390A-2986-4301-B15D-03E6081DAE02

Keep in mind that the whole Bitcoin phenomenon has been a bit of a fad and overmarketed endeavor thus far this year — or really ever since the end of last yewr when it started foing down heavily (crashing) and only really fluctuating since. Last year was when people won big, but it seems right now the market has so many uncertainties and so many cryptocurrencies are competing for market share that what the future will hold is still uncertain. I personally invested early this year, and so far have reslly lost money rather than gained any, due to the prices fluctuating back and forth. Investors and the market capitalization shifts everytime there is some news of a further attack on the cryptocurrency market or some overseas commission manuevers unfavory toward the cryptos.

Despite this, the fact is Bitcoins and many cryptos are priced incredibly high for a commodity-and-currency hybrid, not long existing (since 2009) and not backed by anything in the physical sense (gold or even government guarantees). Again, keep in mind that a single Bitcoin is worth more than $7000 today despite all the uncertainties of what the duture holds for cryptos in general. Mining such a coin could be a very nice investment. Mining is also needed for the Bitcoin phenomenon to continue functioning because, as I previously mentioned, Bitcoins are limited in terms of their potential circulation and it is only through further mining that new coins will enter the market and be circulated.

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How Today’s Bitcoin Shares Similarities to California’s Gold Rush of the 19th Century

You may recall, if you are from California or studied history at all, the Gold Rush was a time of upheaval during the Wild Wild West of the mid 1800s, which was a very turbulent history of the United States. This was a time when prospectors and investors, who were not even miners yet officially, would give up their careers, livelihoods and sacrifice themselves for the potential at fortune through the search of gold across rivers and mountainsides.

These people would travel across long and dangerous territory west to California without any assurance of success or failure. In fact, many gave their lives in the painful process of obtaining such fortune while others, literally, struck gold. Potential miners and enterpreneurs would travel with caravans or wagons with their families while wars were taking place, such as the ones with Native Americans, and very poor communications as well as route conditions existed.

However, such was their resolve. And Bitcoins today resemble a modern version of that resolve, with mining them being a painstaking, often very tech-intensive process. It takes a lot of computing power, time, resources and luck to mine the next coin into circulation. The same could be said for the human factor’s toil of gold mining in California during the 1880s.

Investopedia describes the mining process pretty thoroughtly and also compared it to the Gold Rush in California during the mid 1800s:

”entrepreneurial types see mining as pennies from heaven, like California gold prospectors in 1848… Every single one of those Bitcoin came into being because of miners. In the absence of miners, Bitcoin would still exist and be usable, but there would never be any additional Bitcoin. There will come a time when Bitcoin mining ends; per the Bitcoin Protocol, the number of Bitcoin will be capped at 21 million.“

Obviously there are many differences between the two mining operations and we are living in a completely different time. However, the main comparison arises at the enterpreneual spirit and driving force to mine that next coin.

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The rewards can be huge, there is no doubt about it. Investopedia describes the process as more than winning one Bitcoin at a time. In fact, the lucky miner will win a block of these Bitcoins at a time.

“Bitcoin are mined in units called “blocks.” As of the time of writing, the reward for completing a block is 12.5 Bitcoin. At today’s price of about $10,000 per Bitcoin, this means you’d earn (12.5 x 10,000)=$125,000.”

Mining has also changed over time starting from the Bitcoin’s 2009 inception when a mined block would generate 50 BTC to 25 BTC in 2012 and to the current mined block offering 12.5 BTC. So although the reward of mining has gone down in terms of quantity or coins someon can mine, the value has actually gone up due to the price or market capitalziation being so much higher today than it ever was for a single BTC.

Bitcoins are that modern craving for success and for getting lucky simultaneously. They represent chasing that dream through effort and through perserverence. This is not unlike the effort of the California Gold Rush, where nuggets of gold were gained through blood, sweat and sheer luck.

Bitcoins are also an example of where we are heading in the future. They represent a digital, global, and ubiquitous currency free of central banks, governments and other institutions controlling it. The control is in the hands of the computing nodes mining it and the market price that is determined by the free market.

However, as Bitcoins and other cryptos continue to grow, become more recognized by investors, the market and traditional industries such as Wallstreet, regulations and government peddling is unavoidable. It is already occuruing in many countries.

According to another Investopdia article, Titled Why IS South Korea So Important to Bitcoin Prices?, a country like South Korea can have a huge impact on Bitcoin’s market cap and trading price. If a government, such as South Korea’s, cracks down or discourages (if not outright outlaws) trading, it will have ramifications for the global market and prices will fluctuate — hence what has been happening much of esrly 2018. Even a non-action, like mews of potential government meddling, can have impact on the market cap or investor response.

“The bitcoin world’s collective sigh of relief at South Korea’s recent announcement may have cause the uptick in Bitcoin’s price in recent days, just as the precipitous January 2018 downturn was thought to have been partly brought on by the previous anti-Bitcoin statements by the South Korean government.”

As you see, mining for Bitcoins is a very complex, computing-power (hardware)  intensive endeacor that takes lots of resources, time and sheer luck to be able to win big and mine a block of these very highly-valued digital coins. This is not unlike in many ways mining for gold was during California’s Gold Rush. What the future holds for Bitcoins is a bit uncertain — although as I said, I think they represent the future of currency that will be global, always accessible and digital in nature— but the digital currncy and commodity known as the Bitcoin is not slowing down anytime soon. Nor will the demand to mine that next block of coins stop the next crazy idea from occuring —  as using a supercomouter from a nuclear facility in Russia showed.

All artwork included in this article was created by me (Maciej Duraj/Mike Lata) and is copyrighted @ Mike-Lata.com. If you want to use it, contact me for commissions.

Upgraded the site Using iPad

 

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As you may have noticed, the site has had a major change within the last day or so and this is due to me finally making the plunge and upgrading to a premium WordPress package. I always wanted to do this, but now that I am without freelance work, I figure it is the best time to try monetising the site with ads, creating a custom domain, and adding some flair to the whole package.

I made the purchase, allowed the domain to be set at mlata26.blog, and started working on themes, custom colors, icons for the site image you see on top, and more. I have never made a premium site using WordPress, nor have I ever upgraded a regular or free WordPress site to a premium one. So this has been an interesting experience for me.

I started to hesitate for a while due to noticing that you have to pay for the whole year at once when upgrading to premium. Then I also noticed that you get a free domain name along with this package, but once you pick the wrong one or want to change your mind, you can’t go back and repurchaee another one.

You are pretty much stuck with what you have at that point unless you want to spend more money either at WordPress itself, other domain registrants like GoDaddy or create a redirect, which also costs money. If you cancel the transaction, you get the money back for the site, but not the domain name itself ad WordPress claims it may confuse visitors. You have two days or 48 hours to cancel the package deal, albeit again lacking the domain registrant.

(please note: After scheduling this post I once a gain purchased a custom domain to be redirected to the site alongside mlata26.blog. This domain is callmikelata.com as ai wanted to have a .com URL as well to boost traffic.)

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This is what screwed me up due to my impatience and doing this for the first time. I ended up with mlata26.blog, which was the defsult showing, but I did not know I could have choosen something like mikelata.blog or mike-lata.com or another domain name had I clicked on the one given. Again, I am not sure how does may have looked on desktop, but on iPad I didn’t think the option was modificable, until I tried it again, but this time would have been charged. So I decided to stick with tis domain name for now.

Everything else after that was smoothly on the iPad, with the first few hours being a bit slow and giving me some errors when clicking on the customization tools, due to the verification and site upload process. I have also noticed during this time it was faster to use the app on iPad to do certain customizations before it become available through mobile Chrome for me.

However, I was later able to do everything from mobile Chrome or the app including adding a new theme, AdSense monitization, and even created a custom Adword add that you may see sometime showing the site and my email. However, I included a very low budget per day for the add just to try it out.

One thing I have also been doing is uding Facebook to generate interest through promotional ads for the site, so it grows in viewership. I will continue to improve the site, add new content, and make it compelling. But the main drive right now is for me to be oicked up by the major blogs as a worthy contributor, various magazines as a freelance contributor, and be noticed overall in the journalism and tech worlds.

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I remember when I first started my career as an iPhone and iPad app reviewer — as you can see from the links above in the iPhone and iPad game review pages respectfully — I had a hard and slow time uploading content to WordPress and using WordPress on the ipad. Boy have times changed. It was such a slow process back then because the various WordPress apps would constantly crash and the browser version and incomplete or incompatible to what I was trying to publish in many ways.

I also remember not being able to access most Youtube videos due to them relying on Flash still, various CMS platforms at all, or in a very limited fashion, and even be able to see how my image alignments would look like when published. Most of these problems have been fixed or solutions found as workarounds. There is still a seperation of mobile and desktop browsers, but it is much more superficial than functional now.

The big issues are still editing image size and aligning them to be efficient on both desktop and mobile versions of the site; posting thumbails and wrapping them around text, and dealing with typos that are easily overseen on the iPad and its touch-based keyboard; and lastly the app not aligning paragraphs correctly when editing a post, but the desktop site being able to share posts the way you see them edited on iPad. Another thing I still haven’t figured out is why when I have a not-published, albeit scheduled, post I wrote through the browser not show up on the app so I can modify it more through the app.

So yea there is still some nuances or variations among the mobile site and app when trying to create a WordPress site or modify a site. Hurdles still have to be overcome in certsin areas for the iPad to truly become a PC replacement and an ultimate tool for Web designets.

Overall, there is much to rejoice and I jope you continue to enjoy the site and my work overall across the Web. Now, onto those CSS modifications…

 

Update On What I’ve Been Doing, Writing About

Hello to anyone who reads this blog. I haven’t added any recent reviews or updates in a while but have been pretty busy. I’ve been writing for AppModo (as well as subsidiaries of iPadModo and MacModo) right now and here is my profile with a list of stories I’ve written in the past week or so:
AppModo, iPadModo, and MacModo.

Apparently, the Evac HD review wasn’t posted on TheAppera but I’m going to leave it here. It must not have been the type of game James found his readers would enjoy and it’s a shame as it is great. I am also putting off working for NoDpad off for a while due to AppModo policies of not writing for competing sites. It is worth it for me though as AppModo is a great site with all kinds of tech topics to talk about — not just games. There is also possibilities pay and advancements hopefully so I can do what I love as a profession. I am also looking for various other part(maybe full)-time jobs that relate to the Web, tech or writing in some way or form.